TV On The Radio - Seeds
The most recent record from Brooklyn's art rock experimentalists. Seeds is tireless, each song culminating into an energetic frenzy of electric grit and vibrant fuzz. Its pop punk vocals blend well with the records heavy drone synth and minimalist drum loops. A must have in your playlist for warmer sunny days.
The Decemberists - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
The band's latest record is a departure from their early folk centric, ballad praising anthems. The album is more power pop than melancholia. Its alluring charm and blissful exuberance is a pleasant listen for old and new fans alike.
The National - Trouble Will Find Me
Perpetually troubled, The National's 2014 record plays out like a list of onset paranoid symptoms. Arrangements are dark and ominous, creeping by at mid tempo pace that sway back and forth in the brooding vocals of frontman Matt Berninger. Die hard fans will enjoy the familiar serenades of tracks like "I need My Girl" while still being able to appreciate the bands progressive energies that lie between patience and anxiety. Keep close by for cloudy days.
Future Islands - Singles
Upbeat synth pop meets waned glam rock. This record is groove orientated, with melody lines that hover and raspy vocals that warm the soul. Soft ballads like "One Day" and "Like the Moon" keep the record moving at a toe tapping pace and the listener suspended in moments of unbridled ambition.
Culture Club - Colour by Numbers
Outrageous, sexy, and bombastic. Arguably the most influential and androgynous synth pop group of the 80s, Colour by Numbers was at the peek of Culture Club's success. Fun-loving and expressive, this record is carefree and full of energy.
Donna Summer - 1982
Soul inspired, disco roots with 80s retro falsetto (of the Michael Jackson calibre). Sultry vocal arrangements atop a wash of dreamy keyboards and punchy bass lines, this record cries heart ache through with Donna pours herself into the the ears of her listeners where her pain may be felt and understood. You will understand why she is the queen of disco.
Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass - Casino Royale 1967
Casino Royale is as cool as a summer breeze. This record sways like palm trees, side to side. Less jazz inclined, we hear and feel the records samba and bossa nova origins in songs like "The Charmer" and "Bo-Bo". A nod to the 1967 film (and album title), Casino Royal, the record concludes with a cover of Burt Bacharach's theme to the James Bond movie. You'd be denying yourself a momentary life of luxury to not spin this record.
Tijuana Brass - Whipped Cream and other delights
The most popular release from Herb Alpert's brass band. Catchy instrumentals, perfectly executed in slick 60s fashion. Its South-of-the-border sound gives the record a festive tone where spontaneity and exuberance abound. Best experienced pool side with chilled beverage in hand.
Upp - Upp 1975.
This record is incredibly unique. One of the greatest guitarists of his time, Jeff Beck from The Yardbirds produced this record. You can hear his guitar in the background determining the forecast of their sound. For an all white British band from the 70s, they lay down some authentic soul and down-tempo funk. The vocals careen smoothly in a soft and sweet Curtis Mayfield register. You will hear subdued elements of clarinet jazz fusion in the backdrop, organs and electric guitar that set a psychedelic tone, and textural early synth sounds that give it a futuristic feel. Please enjoy.
Rufus - Rags to Rufus 1974
Rufus was an ever-evolving funk supergroup. Chaka Khan was just 20 years old when she took this project on as lead singer. It was her first time working with the group and she is a powerhouse. She was arrogant enough to turn down a song suggested by Stevie Wonder, but she later accepted to record the Grammy award winning "Tell Me Something Good" on her own terms. This album hits all the sweet funky and funky funky spots your funky tooth can desire.
Robert Gordon - Rock Billy Boogie 1979
Robert Gordon was a boy obsessed with Elvis Presley. He brought on the rockabilly revival coining the term neo-rockabilly. The legendary surf rock guitar god, Link Wray adds beach boogie vibes to this record. Robert Gordan was a teen craze, and eye candy for the ears. He whoops and hollers eccentrically in early Elvis fashion. It might be time to start a neo-rockabilly revival.
Sam Smith - In the Lonely Hour.
Welcome to the Grammies my friends. You may know him from Disclosure's new world order record, or from serving him at BP, followed by hundreds of fans. Though this is a record about unrequited love, Sam keeps the mood generally light with moments of four to the floor glossy pop. With all of his high school emotions, he has the impressive vocal spectrum from a camel to a small bird. Enjoy this in the overcast morning or in that vulnerable late night hour.
One way - Wrap Your Body 1985.
Al Hudson isn't afraid to tell a woman what he thinks or how he feels. No sir, Al, close to the end of his career, cranks up the sensual vibes. He breathes gently on your neck in 80s bedsheet synth and funk. R&B at its soul, funky fresh beats in its bones. This record is full of quirky synth tones and classic 80s drum loops that will keep you moving when you least expect it. Play it soft and listen hard.
Salt-n-Pepa - Black's Magic 1990.
Salt salt salt SALT N PEPAS HERE. Salt-n-Pepa is a feminist all girl rap group that is unmistakably unique. DJ Spinderella does a fabulous job pumping up the volume with classic funk samples and heavy beats, and the girls are FIERCE. This record is the pinnacle of their career. It spans 52 minutes with hit after hit of clean hip hop. You'll find most of their singles are on side B, which is a great solo option for an upbeat record queue. You'll see everybody swaying to it on a Saturday afternoon, loud-n-proud.
Belle and Sebastian - Girls in Peace Time Want To Dance.
If you have listened to Belle and Sebastian before it was probably on a breezy Sunday afternoon reading in leisure, half-asleep or half-buzzed. This is not that same Sunday. This is the 3 day weekend kind of Sunday and you know you wanna to party. Sebastian continues his comfort blanket melancholic whisper singing over an unbridled mash up of world dance inspiration. From P-funk to polka the album hits with catchy tunes, but its grounded by a steady somberness.
Bronski Beat - Age of Consent
As serious as a poker table, it can be as silly as carny theater with recorded tap dancing and finger snaps, scat singing and drum machines, grown men in high castrato with an operatic storm rolling in. Somewhere in between you may have a religious experience. The album finishes with the electronic iconoclast Donna Summer/Georgio Moroder cover of "I Feel Love" creatively spun in Hi-NRG. Take in the beauty of these angel boys of synthpop and dance a little.
Jerry Lee Lewis 1979
The Rock n' roll Hall of Famer's 1979 record marks a return to the feverish eccentricity that popularized his early work. The album plays out in familiar 70s boogie-woogie style, with subtle funk and disco inflection. A life of wildness and excess earned Jerry Lee Lewis much notoriety which catered greatly to his reputation for being the earliest rock n roller. Much like his performances, this record is relentless, full of key-pounding energy with hankering for a bar brawl.
Todd Rundgren - A Wizard...A True Star 1975
This is considered to be Todd's masterpiece. When an oil crisis led to a shortage of vinyl, Todd released these 24 tracks as the longest single LP ever released. It is an unpredictable medley suite. Musical skits race one after the next as if the soundtrack of a child's elusive dream. The sound swells, releases and adapts to new surroundings masterfully. Todd on piano, organ, harpsichord leads into exotic transcendence while guitars strike like air raids and strip down nature to its elements. His voice has a frail child-like wistfulness in response to its surroundings and the drummer holds it together, continually reconstructing the hallucinatory vision with walking rhythms. The album features classic soul song covers that absorb one another before they actualize and songs that are worthy of Motown top 40. Todd is an overachiever as a composer. For this record he played 12 different instruments and had a 10 piece backing band. You will hear influences today in the works of auteurs such as Tame Impala and Of Montreal.
Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky 1969
This album is a laid back open air cruise through sunny California. It is spacey progressive and leaves room for the instruments to talk. At times it has a folksy jug band feel and other times an early synth psychedelic cool. He keeps the vibes quirky, easy and fun.